Reconstruction Fiction: Housing and Realist Literature in Postwar Britain (Ohio State University Press, 2020) by Dr. Paula Derdiger, Associate Professor of English at the University of Minnesota Duluth, looks at how historical changes in housing after the second World War impacted the realist literature of British writers.
You can check out Reconstruction Fiction here at the library or get the pdf (free, open access), as well as find the book on the Ohio State University Press website. Dr. Derdiger can be found on her university webpage. She also grew up in Deerfield and it’s wonderful to be able to celebrate her work at her hometown library!
Topics include: Complicating narratives of literary history that pit modernism against realism. The connection between Colin MacInnes' narrative structure and Brutalist architecture. How Elizabeth Taylor's ironically meager plots mirror postwar rationing. A special focus on a favorite writer, Elizabeth Bowen, including Bowen's declarations on post-WW2 literature, her "relentlessly passive" sentence structure, her atmospheric sense of place, and particularly her novels The Death of the Heart and The Little Girls. Plus how all these writers responded to Virginia Woolf. This is a joyous conversation about literary form and content and style, about how writers respond to each other and the world, and about the social impact of realist fiction.